ATLANTA - If getting bitten by a snake doesn’t kill you, the cost to treat it just might.
Georgia is one of the most active states in the country for snake bites, and if you get bitten, the costs to treat it can be astronomical.
Georgia Poison Control Director Gaylord Lopez says treatment always needs to be quick, and it's always expensive. He says the anti-venom is difficult to make and, because so few people need it every year, companies don't make a lot of it.
“It wouldn't be unusual for a person who has been envenomated to receive 30-40 vials of this stuff without even blinking. And that's just the drug,” Lopez said. “You still have to pay for the ICU stay and doctors’ fees, etc.”
Lopez says treatment for a venomous snake bite could cost upwards of $100,000, and that's if the patient does everything right.
If you are bitten, the Georgia Poison Control says:
- DON'T put ice of the affected limb. Yes, the thing swells. The area swells and it's painful. But ice actually makes the venom move faster through your system.
- DON’T try to suck the venom out yourself, Lopez says that just doesn't work.
Lopez also advises victims not to take anything for the pain and swelling so they can independently evaluate it when you get to the hospital.
If you see a snake, Lopez said the best thing to do is walk the other way.
“Snakes for the most part are very docile, they're not out to bite us, but if we go and invade their area, they're going to bite you,” Lopez said.
Most hospitals told 11Alive's Kaitlyn Ross that it costs between $12,000 and $20,000 per vial of anti-venom. Most people need six vials just to survive.
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